Admitting that the integration of Mako after the $1.7 billion acquisition in December 2013 was “messy,” CEO Kevin Lobo said Stryker isn’t planning to launch the total knee offering until 2017.
“Stryker has never done this before,” he told MDDI. “We’ve never had a product approved, and then told the sales force, ‘You have to wait a year.’ We’ve never told our customers, ‘You have to wait a year.'”
Hoping to avoid the problems Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Stryker ran into with its surgical navigation system, which caught on only in Australia, Lobo said the company is running a pair of clinical trials to study how surgeons use the robot-assisted surgery platform, he told the website.
“We’re trying to figure what’s the training protocol for somebody who has never used a robot, and what’s the training protocol for someone who already has some robotic experience,” Lobo explained. “We want to set the right expectation.”
“I’d rather take a year of deliberation so that when we launch, we launch with excellence,” he said.
Lobo said he’s confident that the Mako system will be competitive even as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launches the 5-year “Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement” program at more than 800 hospitals next month. The program will bundle payments for hip and knee replacements from hospital admission to 90 days after discharge, covering “all related items and services” under Medicare Part A and Part B.
“I absolutely think Mako can win in a bundled payment environment,” Lobo said. “We are going to show much less soft tissue disruption. Every surgeon is going to be able to do it the same way. We’re going to have much more consistent, predictable outcomes and that’s going to be enabled by a robot.”